I’ll let you in on some personal information: last year I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, mild depression, and some obsessive compulsive behaviors. Since then, I’ve been working with a therapist to deal with my reactions and anxiety issues because they were severely impacting my life – and while I wouldn’t categorize them as ‘severe’ anymore, they are still there, and some days, like today, they continue to make things difficult for me.
The biggest source of anxiety for me right now is my husband’s green card paperwork. The immigration lawyer quoted us $5K, which we clearly couldn’t afford, so I knew I had to do all of the paperwork myself. We are through the first stage and into the second one, but this means I’m once again faced with putting together all the documentation and making sure all 12 pages of each form are filled out perfectly, or else we risk being rejected (for forgetting to check a box!). Knowing that if I screw up these papers or this document packet, I risk screwing up our entire future, my anxiety has once again reached peak levels.
When my anxiety attacks hit, I can’t breathe. My chest is tight and I can’t find my breath, I’m usually shaky, and I tend to start sobbing uncontrollably. Just printing out the necessary forms and beginning to gather what we need sent me spiraling today after work – and I knew it was coming. The paperwork is the biggest trigger for me right now, and the pressure is overwhelming, plus, every time the administration starts talking about shutting down immigration, it throws me into another anxiety fit. I know I have to tackle these things on my own and take control, but being here in Japan isn’t helping, as this country is another thing that tends to aggravate my anxiety on even the better days.
It’s a lot when you are desperately hoping for a job that will hire you from abroad and finishing out a current contract in a job that has rapidly become almost unbearable in a country that has also become almost unbearable. I find that I’m not doing so well many days right now because of all the pressure. Plus, the reality in Japan is that my husband is rarely home at night, which means I’m alone for most of my anxiety issues – not the best way for me, as I desperately need other people around to keep my mood up.
If anyone else struggles with anxiety or depression, I hope you are doing well, and please know that you are worth it and that I believe in your ability to tackle whatever demons you face. It’s hard work when a mental illness prevents you from doing the things you know you need to do, but all I can do is keep moving forward. I hope that you all can do the same.